It’s time for another installment of the Secret Recipe Club…where each month I’m assigned another blogger to stalk and recreate one of their recipes. I was thrilled to be assigned another old friend, Erin, of Making Memories with Your Kids. She makes oodles of wonderful desserts, so it was a challenge to figure out which one to choose. First, I printed off her Peach Crumb Bars before changing my mind and baking up these extraordinary Mini Cheesecakes topped with Caramel. Erin used salted caramel, but I went back to an old recipe for Microwave Caramel (done in 5 minutes or less!) for my topping. These were terrific!!! Thumbs up from the whole family. Not that I had any doubt. Please go visit Erin and you’ll also have trouble deciding which of her marvelous recipes to try first!!!
When it comes to making cheesecake, there are a couple rules to follow. First up, use room temperature ingredients…your batter will be much smoother if your cream cheese, eggs, etc are not pulled fresh from the fridge. If you’re using your stand mixer, use your paddle attachment. The whisk will incorporate air into the batter, making air holes and a light, not the traditional dense result. If you’re using a hand mixer, just mix on low speed. If you try my microwave caramel sauce, don’t fret if the first batch is a flop…all microwaves heat differently and sometimes it’s difficult to see if the sugar is coloring through the appliance window. It should just be a pale yellow…if it’s already an amber color when you pull it out, it will be too dark as it continues to bubble and cook on your counter top. Just make a note of the exact time used when you’re successful, then you can have fresh caramel sauce in a matter of minutes…any time you want!
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar ( a half tablespoon is equal to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup hot heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
- Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter till well combined. Add a well rounded tablespoon to each muffin cup and tamp mixture into an even layer. Allow to cool while preparing filling.
- Mix cream cheese, sugar and flour on low speed till smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time on low speed, and scrape down sides of bowl after each addition. Add vanilla, sour cream and heavy cream and mix just until combined. If your batter has lots of air bubbles, tap your bowl numerous times on the counter to help remove them. Alternatively, use the paddle attachment of your stand mixer to make batter to minimize air bubbles.
- Divide mixture among muffin cups, but don't overfill (you may have some extra batter. Bake for 20 - 23 minutes, centers may still be slightly jiggly.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool 1 hour. Then move to refrigerator and chill 2 hours. Serve chilled with a spoonful of caramel sauce.
- To make microwave caramel, mix sugar, corn syrup, water and lemon juice in a 2 cup capacity Pyrex measuring cup. Microwave till mixture just starts to take on a bit of color, 4-5 minutes. Watch carefully...my previous microwave would burn it at 5 minutes, but my current microwave needs almost a full 5 minutes to get to a pale amber.
- Remove cup to counter where it will continue to bubble and darken to an amber color. Add hot cream a couple tablespoons at a time (it will bubble intensely, so add slowly). When all the cream is added, stir and add in butter. Store in fridge up to 2 weeks.